From the age of 4, attending school to obtain a basic education is mandatory for all children. Basic education consists of 9 years of school, divided into 4 levels. It begins with Level 1—formerly known as early-childhood or preschool education—and continues with Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4, formerly known as primary school. In principle, each level lasts 2 years.
When a child with special educational needs reaches the age of entry into basic education, assistance measures adapted to the child's learning difficulties will be offered, ranging from adapting the instruction and support provided by classroom teachers, to education in a special education class, which is an integral part of basic education.
To be admitted into the ordinary state education system, children must:
- have been registered in advance in the population register of the commune in which they live with their parents or guardian;
- have reached the age of 4 by 31 August of the year in progress in order to enrol in a basic education class (preschool education);
- have reached the age of 6 by 31 August of the year in progress in order to enrol in a basic education class.
Parental choice and support
- either register the child in a special school for special education;
- or opt for full- or part-time inclusion in ordinary education system;
- or, where applicable, opt for placement in an institution accredited abroad.
In making their choice, they receive guidance and support from the School Inclusion Commission (Commission d'inclusion scolaire - CIS), which proposes an educational plan tailored to their child's needs. The commission comprises, among others, the district inspector, a teacher and 3 members of a multi-disciplinary team (composed of psychologists, psycho-motor therapists, and educators) who will design an educational plan for the child, either at the parents' request, or at the request of the teacher, with the parents' approval.
Educational support and differentiation
Basic education requires collaborative work between teachers and their colleagues at the same level so that they can adapt their teaching in line with their students' needs. This is known as "differentiation". For example, additional help, called educational support, may be provided to students experiencing difficulties: it may be provided individually by the teacher or to a group of students having similar difficulties, during or after school hours.
In the case of learning difficulties, a level may be extended by one year. If it becomes clear that a student is unable to acquire the basic skills needed within 2 years, an adapted programme spread over 3 years is established by the teaching staff. In these cases, children are not just held back a year, but receive education adapted to their learning needs.
For specific needs such as dyslexia, hyperactivity, or a physical disability, the educational team will seek the assistance of the specialists in the multi-disciplinary team (which comprises basic education teachers as well as special education and Speech Therapy Centre staff).
The necessary support will be allocated by a commission, known as the School Inclusion Commission, whose members include a district inspector, experts from the multi-disciplinary team, and, if necessary, a doctor and a social worker.
In-depth diagnostic evaluation for children with specific needs
If a problem is detected, the role of the School Inclusion Commission is to devise, at the request either of the parents or the teacher (with the parents' prior consent), a plan for the child's education.
To do this, the commission has an in-depth diagnostic evaluation carried out by:
- the classroom teacher, in conjunction with the educational team;
- members of the relevant multi-disciplinary team;
- where applicable, members of the organisations (recognised by the Ministry) that are working or have worked with the child.
This diagnostic evaluation includes, in particular:
- an assessment of the child's cognitive, physical, psychological, educational, and social needs;
- the aid that may be granted;
- a personalised educational plan.
Other examinations and reports may be requested, in particular to determine any specific disability diagnosed by specialists.
Personalised educational plan
A personalised educational plan is prepared by the multi-disciplinary team in conjunction with the classroom teacher and/or the educational team, after consulting with the parents.
The plan may recommend:
- adapting the instruction given in class by the classroom teacher working in conjunction with the educational team (teaching staff and educational staff in charge of classes in the same level);
- in-class assistance by one of more members of the multi-disciplinary team working with the educational team for the duration of the intervention;
- temporary transfer into another class for certain subjects;
- instruction in a special education class;
- education in a special school or institution in Luxembourg or abroad.
The plan may also mention additional aid granted to ensure academic support for the child. If applicable, it may provide for necessary adaptations and adjustments concerning the skills to be acquired and the means of assessment to be used.
The plan is submitted to the parents for their approval. The CIS has the plan reviewed annually and incorporates any changes deemed necessary to ensure that the student continues to make progress at school. With respect to the last 2 points, the student's file must be sent to the National Medical School Commission (Commission médico-psycho-pédagogique - CMPPN) for approval.
Contact person for the parents
For each student brought to its attention, the CIS appoints, from among its members, a contact person who, together with the district inspector, supervises the collaboration between the school staff, the non-instructional staff, the members of the relevant multi-disciplinary team, and the members of the relevant Medical School Commission in question.
This person is the contact person for the student and the parents. The parents and the classroom teacher in question are informed of the recommended procedures and are involved in the measures proposed in the student's interest.
Recourse in the event of disagreement
In the parents disagree with the CIS's proposed plan, as approved by the National Medical School Commission, where applicable, they may appeal to the Minister, who will submit the file to a group of experts that the Minister appoints.
The group of experts may either agree with the CIS's proposed plan or make an alternative proposal.
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